Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Bivocational ministers and delegation

Editorial honesty requires that I admit that even though this post is about delegation, I am not naturally good at delegating. I am of the school that believes that it's easier to go ahead and do what needs to be done than it is to explain to someone else how to do it. At least, if I do it I know it will be done right. Right?

Not necessarily. The last time I changed the spark plugs in a car was in the late 1960s. After spending several hours changing eight plugs I found out the car wouldn't start. It had to be towed into a local garage. It didn't take the mechanics long to correct the problem, but I still remember the way they looked at me with pity as I drove away.

There are other things I am not good at doing. If I try to do them, it will take me three times longer, there's a good chance it will not be done properly, and I will have enormous opportunity costs in what I was attempting. The more time I spend doing things I'm not good at doing, the less time I have available to do the things I'm gifted at doing.

But, there's an even greater problem when we refuse to delegate. I had been at my church a few years when I shared with our Area Minister how tired and burned out I was feeling. His immediate response was that I was doing too much. He told me I was trying to carry the church on my back. Even worse, he said that I was depriving the church of being the church. People were not being challenged to be involved in ministry because I was doing everything myself.

That really stung because I knew it was true. As a bivocational pastor I was trying to be SuperPastor. It was taking a toll on me and hurting the church at the same time. I had to change my approach to ministry or I would shortchange our members and hurt the overall ministry of the church.

I shared the conversation I had with our Area Minister with our congregation, and I began to intentionally ask people to do certain tasks that I had been doing. Nearly everyone agreed and, in fact, seemed pleased to have been asked. We began to train people for certain tasks so they would feel more confident. Within a relatively short period of time we had much greater involvement from our church members which multiplied our church's ministry.

Pastors make a mistake if they try to do ministry by themselves. This is even more true if the pastor is bivocational. Due to the time limitations bivocational ministers have, if they attempt to do ministry alone they will suffer the consequences as will the congregation and the overall ministry of the church.

Learn to delegate. Trust the people to do ministry. Perhaps they won't do it exactly like you would, but who says your way is the best anyway? You'll find many people will step up if you just ask, and when they do they will grow and so will your church.

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